Ricky Eberhart heads back to the First Niagara Center.
By John D'Onofrio Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
The post season accolades and opportunities are continuing to pour in for Lockport High School senior hockey star Ricky Eberhart.
Ricky, the son of Rick and Kristin Eberhart, has been selected for the second consecutive year to compete in the Scotty Bowman Showcase on April 15 at the First Niagara Center, home of the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres.
The announcement comes just days after Eberhart was one of just seven players named to the Western New York All Federation Large School First Team.
A hockey fan and a hockey player since the age of five, Eberhart said he got his start from his father, Rick, who also played for Lockport High School and coached the team as well.
Ricky, who wears No. 19 for his favorite player, former NHL star Steve Yzerman, led the Lions in scoring this past season with eight goals and 14 assists.
With no Lockport city rink to play on, Eberhart said his career has included trips to various local rinks throughout Western New York.
“I started when I was five and played at the Hockey Outlet in Wheatfield. I joined the Buffalo Regals and then played in West Seneca and then it’s been back to Wheatfield ever since,” he said. “I’ve loved hockey from the start. I like the pace of the game and scoring goals. I like everything about it.”
While playing on a Lockport team that has lost a majority of its games over the past several years, Eberhart has managed to shine brightly. At one point last year, he was second in Federation large school points.
A center and left winger, Eberhart said his All-Federation First Team selection is quite an honor.
“It feels good to be recognized. It was a little higher than the honor last year. It’s been a step up for me each year,” Eberhart said.
“Next year I want to try out for juniors, then hopefully move up,” he said. “My ultimate goal is to play college hockey at either a D-1 or a good D-3 school.”
Among the many teammates he said loved to play with was Tracy Maracle of the Lions. Both are enthused about the city’s new twin ice arena, which is slated to be completed by next fall.
“Tracy have been teammates since ninth grade. We’ve always played together,” Eberhart said. “We’re excited about the news that a new rink is being built. I wish I could have skated on it, but it will definitely help future kids. Hopefully, it will get more people interested in playing hockey and knowing that you don’t have to drive 30 minutes away to do it.”
Ricky has one brother, Vincent, a Lockport wrestler.
Eberhart and his Buffalo-area senior teammates will battle with senior all-stars from Rochester in a special all-star game at 7:30 p.m. at the FN Center. The winner receives the Scotty Bowman Cup. That game will be preceded at 6 p.m. by an all-star game of juniors from Buffalo and Rochester competing for the Tim Horton Memorial Cup. Admission for the games is $5.
Bowman, the winningest coach in NHL history, will be in attendance to present the Bowman Cup to the victorious senior team. The Rochester seniors won last year’s Bowman Cup, but Buffalo leads in the event’s eight-year history, 6-2.
A third game will feature players from Buffalo and Rochester who play prep school or junior hockey, either locally or elsewhere. The junior and senior-year high school-aged players will face off for the Rick Martin Memorial Cup at 9 p.m. All three games will consist of two 22-minute halves. Buffalo won the first ever Rick Martin Memorial Cup at last year’s event.
Eberhart played in the Horton Memorial at the First Niagara Center in 2012. Among those who have competed in the annual all-star event are Rochester native Phil Lane, who was drafted by the Phoenix Coyotes in the second round (52nd overall) at the 2010 NHL Draft, after competing in both the 2008 and 2009 events.
Besides Eberhart, players named to the All Federation Large School First Team are Lancaster’s Manny Manns, Clarence’s Mark Armstrong, Frontier’s Bob Piotrowicz, Canisius’ Conner Naughton and Dimitrios Gogos and Dennis Gilbert of St. Joe’s.